Hair… The crown of our glory and the center of our frustration. A good hair day will have you feeling fly and fierce, but a bad one may leave you down and distressed. Changing your ‘do can impact your entire lifestyle and the transition back to your natural hair can be downright frustrating. Many black females have had relaxers most of their life (including myself) and the first 2 times I reverted back to my natural texture, I didn’t have the capacity to understand that I couldn’t treat my hair the same way. A different mentality is needed all together and once you wrap your head around the fact that Natural doesn’t mean “nappy”, taking care of your hair is a breeze.
Whether you are transitioning to natural hair or have newly crossed over or even if you have been natural for a long time but find that your hair care is lacking, below are a few pointers or principles that all naturals should adhere to:
* Natural Hair Needs Moisture… way more than any other type of hair. As I sit with conditioner in my hair as I type, I cannot stress this principle the most. If you want healthy hair, you need moisture, moisture, moisture. The curlier your hair, the more moisture you need. This is so, because at every twist and turn at the curl is a week spot in the hair, I place where it can break off. Keeping your hair moisturized will limit breakage which will inturn limit the amount of trims or cuts and help with length retention. Detangling your hair should be only on wet and conditioned hair to prevent excessive breakage. Doing styles at night (braids or twist) will also help to keep moisture inside you satin scarf while you sleep.
* Know your ingredients… because the front label does not explain what is inside the bottle. I have gotten used to immediately flipping over the tube and looking through the ingredients. A lot of products marketed for African Americans i.e. grease, contains mineral oil and petroleum. This two ingredients are cheap fillers with unfavorable properties. They clog the pores and stifle new growth. There are other chemicals in hair products that are linked to illnesses like parabens, which unfortunately are in most hair products. Find a hair database that explains the uses of each ingredient in your beauty products. If you don’t like their purpose, I suggest throwing it out. On the flip side of this, find what products make your hair feels the best and what ingredients gives your hair the most moisture. The most abundant ingredient is first on the list, hence you want the moisturizing properties first and the gunk last.
* Stop using Sulphate shampoo… unless you like stripped, dry and suffering curls!! Most shampoos contain Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulfate (SLS) which is a harsh cleaning agent and it is responsible for soapy lather you find in the shower. Yes, it does clean your hair, but it takes the good moisture out a well. Bottom line, you don’t need it. There other methods one can use to cleanse the hair. A popular methods most curlies use is to conditioner wash. This is to put conditioner in the place of shampoo. It cleans the hair and adds moisture to your hair. If you decide to quit using SLS cold-turkey, you have to be conscious of a few things. SLS shampoos were developed to combat the tough chemical, ingredients in hair products. Therefore, if you want to use alternative methods of cleaning your hair, you must find other methods of conditioning, moisturizing and styling your hair. You don’t want to clog your pores by using heaving products that your conditioner or non-SLS cleanser can remove. Reminder: healthy hair comes from a healthy scalp.
* Everything in moderation... or pay the price in the long run. Your hair has a natural balance and it will remain its healthiest when it is closest to its own equilibrium. That means, you can’t wear your hair in a tight puff everyday and think you won’t have thin edges a couple of months later. That means you can’t have a wash-n-go all the time and not expect knots and tangles ends. Provide your hair with protein along with moisture and vice versa. Don’t overdue a particular technique because your hair will go far left in result.
* Know your hair type… Girlllll you got that good hair!!! Just kidding, there is no such thing. Everyone’s hair is beautiful and remember, the grass is always greener. You need to have an intimate relationship with your hair and getting to know your type and texture will greatly improve how you treat her. The LOIS hair classification system is an intricate description of your hair which will help you to better understand your hair and how it will respond to different products. However, let your hair roam free and do its thing. You have to find hair styles that allow your hair to be healthy and she will remain cooperative in future endeavors.
Most importantly, know that learning your hair takes time. Don’t expect it to look like everyone else because that only leads to more frustration. Embrace your natural texture first and get used to the idea that it will NOT look like the next girl’s hair. Which is good, because who wants to look like the next chick?
By Stella Gray, Spa Elder Fern Tree, the Spa at Half Moon
Monday, January 26, 2009
Every year we spend thousands on hair care products when we could easily create our own treatments using ingredients from our own kitchens that will help us maintain strong, shiny and healthy hair.
Hair is made from a substance called keratin, which constitutes not only our hair but also our nails. Hair grows from follicles on our body that are attached to a sebaceous gland. Sebaceous glands produce sebum, which is a form of oil that nourishes both our skin and our hair. Regular scalp massage will help to stimulate blood flow to our hair follicles, which will help the flow of sebum and increase hair growth.
Once the hair has grown from the follicle or root, it is actually dead. So in order to maintain strong, healthy hair it is important that we have a nutrient-filled, balanced diet. Include plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, seeds and lean protein along with drinking lots of water to hydrate and condition our hair from within.
In Jamaica, we are blessed with an abundance of coconut, which is excellent for our bodies and thus our hair. So the nourishment of our hair really comes from inside out. We have over 100,000 strands of hair on our heads and we lose approximately 50-100 strands daily; thus our body is constantly replacing hair.
It is wise to invest in the best quality shampoo that we can afford, avoiding shampoos that contain synthetic chemicals; chemicals which are the same as those used in dishwashing liquid. Though these shampoos lather well, they are also very harsh and tend to dry out our hair. If possible, try to avoid shampoos that contain sodium laureth sulfate. Products containing decyl glucose or decyl glucoside tend to be gentler on the hair. Most health food stores sell shampoos that contain natural ingredients, which are the most gentle for our hair.
Here are a few natural recipes you might like to try at home.
Sugar Scalp Rub Ingredients: 4 tablespoons brown sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons cold pressed coconut or olive oil
Method Combine sugar and oil and apply to scalp using only fingertips. Massage well into scalp using circular movements for several minutes. Rinse and shampoo as normal. Note This is great for those of us who suffer from dandruff. This will stimulate your scalp and also remove any excess oil or residue build-up. It is also excellent for men to stimulate hair growth.
Avocado Coconut Conditioner Ingredients: 1 large piece of avocado pear coconut milk Method Blend avocado pear with enough coconut milk until it reaches the consistency of a thick hair conditioner. Apply to damp hair, working well into the ends of the hair. Cover your head with a steam cap for 20 minutes Shampoo and rinse after.
Ginger & Olive Oil Dandruff Treatment Ingredients: 1 large piece of fresh ginger root 1 teaspoon light olive oil 1/2 large lime (juiced)
Method Press juice from ginger root and mix with light olive oil and lime juice. Apply to scalp and allow to dry. Shampoo as normal.
Note This can be done regularly to eliminate dandruff.
Natural Hairspray Ingredients: 1/2 Seville orange 1 lime 2 cups water Method Cut up citrus into little pieces and add to water in a sauce pot. Boil until liquid is reduced by half Let cool then strain. Put in spray bottle and place in refrigerator. If mixture is too sticky add a little Witch Hazel.
Note You will need to make this regularly as it should be replaced after about two weeks. However, this is far better for the environment and for your lungs.
Spa Elder Tip To help control frizzy hair naturally, simply remove gel from a piece of fresh aloe vera. Blend into a liquid and work well into your hair. This not only helps control frizz but conditions your hair at the same time.
Stella Gray is the Spa Elder at Fern Tree, the Spa at Half Moon, with over 35 years in the spa industry. She can be reached at email@example.com.
A healthy person can easily grow 1/8 of an inch of hair every month. Over the course of patiently waiting a few months, it may feel like your hair is not growing.
Pampering your hair and treating it like fine cloth is a great strategy to grow your hair. Your current hair care regimen and hair style may be preventing your hair from retaining length.
Your hair is not going to stop growing, however if you are not keeping the length at the ends, you will never appear to have longer hair. Here are some easy tips to help you retain hair growth.
1. Wear a protective hair style. This is any hair style where you are not manipulating your hair excessively.
2. Wear your hair in a bun, puff, french braid, or ponytail that is not tight.
3. Avoid placing your hair in contact with harsh fabrics. If your shoulder length hair seems not go be growing it could be because it is rubbing against your wool coat for several hours a week while you are commuting. Wear a silk scarf to be a barrier while you are wearing your wool coat.
4. Wear a hair style where you are not combing it everyday. Try two strand twists, three strand twists, box braids, micro braids, roller sets, afros, braid outs, flexi rod sets, and not heat styling.
5. Add water, then oil to the ends of your hair. You want to protect the ends of your hair.
Although I'm a loose natural, I love loc bands because they can also be use as headbands as well a way to decorate your afro puffs just like any other hair accessory.
Sister Love Loc Bands based in Union City, Georgia is now offering online shopping via Etsy.
Sisters Tracey Deck and Gayle Boyles are the creators of Sisters Love Loc Bands. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the ladies at the World Natual Hair, Health, and Beauty Show in Atlanta Georgia in April. I'm not sure which of the two sisters I met but I will never forget her warm and open personality. The service was excellent and the care that she took with packaging my product left a lasting impression.
You all are so kind. It has been a pleasure to interact with you for the months that have passed during my blogging journey.
When I started this blog back in September 2008 and truly got serious about it in January 2009, I had no idea that it would grow to be supported by so many.
I've always loved research, writing, and sharing information. It is such a pleasure to know that others appreciate my research and I'm so happy that I've been able to share information with you all.
Please feel free to contact me at anytime if there is a topic relating to NATURAL/ORGANIC hair care, maintenance, and products that you would like to see posted and I'll do my best to find information to share with you via the blog.
My Hairstory - I began my transition to natural hair August 24, 2007.
I transitioned for a little over five and a half months and did the BC (Big Chop) on Sunday February 17, 2008.
My hair is what is defined as type 4a with very little 3C in the front top.
My hair album is located at http://www.fotki.com/new2naptural